Main walk: 16.9km (10.5 miles)
Short walk: 12.9km (8 miles)
Long walk: 19.3km (12 miles)
Figure of eight walk: 17.6km (10.9 miles) or 19.9km (12.3 miles)
|OS Maps||Explorer 136, Landranger 188|
Apart from at the very end, this is a completely different route from the Wadhurst short and main walks in Time Out Country Walks Book two. It follows the Sussex Border Path to the large reservoir of Bewl Water, and then follows its banks back to Wadhurst village for tea. This is beautiful country, full of hidden valleys and picturesque farms. Being the Weald, the route is almost never flat, but the gradients on this route are always gentle.
The original version of this walk took a direct path from the reservoir up to Wadhurst - a pleasant and gentle climb, but perhaps too short for some walkers (just 4.3km/2.7 miles from lunch to tea). So this has now been made into the short walk, which is 12.9km (8 miles) long.
The main walk, 16.9km (10.5 miles) long, spends a bit more time exploring the shores of the reservoir, and then returns to Wadhurst over lovely hilly territory with fine views. It is 8.4km (5.2 miles) from lunch to tea by this route.
For an even fuller exploration of Bewl Water, the long walk takes you out around a remote promontary sticking out into the lake, and up across classic Kentish farmland with fine reservoir views. It then follows the main walk's hilly route into Wadhurst. This walk is 19.3km (12 miles) long and it is 11.1km (6.9 miles) from lunch to tea.
To do any of these walks, simply start with the main walk directions below. You will be told when to switch to the short or long option and told where to find the directions for them.
You can also combine part of this walk with Walk 18a Wadhurst Circular Short Walk in Time Out Country Walks Volume 2 (walk directions available in the book two section of this website) to create a Wadhurst Figure of Eight walk (ie having both lunch and tea in Wadhurst) offering a comprehensive introduction to the different types of scenery around the village. This walk is 7km (4.3 miles) in the morning and 7.4km (4.6 miles) from lunch to tea, which with a further 3.2km (2 miles) to the station gives a total walk length of 17.6km (10.9 miles). Or if you use the long walk option, it is 9.7km (6 miles) from lunch to tea, giving a total walk length of 19.9km (12.3 miles).
The walk starts and ends at Wadhurst station on the Hastings Line, served by trains from Charing Cross via London Bridge. Take the train nearest to 10.10am from London to get to lunch in time.
The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 782271), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the main, short and long walks is the only lunch option. It has a formal restaurant area, but you can also eat in the bar. Though it has a slightly gastro-pub air, it is now, following a revamp of its menu, offering huge portions, so walkers should feel adequately fed. Lunch is served from 12-2.15pm Monday to Saturday, and to 3pm on Sunday.
The best option is probably Jempsons, whose cafe is next to the supermarket of that name. It is open until 5pm Monday to Saturday but closed on Sunday.
Nearby is the characterful Wealden Wholefoods Cafe, a lovely alternative tea room, with an interesting range of cakes and a very small patio, but this shuts at 4.30pm Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, and at 3.30pm on Wednesdays, with last orders half an hour earlier. The shop is open for another half hour in each case.
The Cottage Tea Room between the two pubs is another charming small tea room, which is open Thursday to Sunday until 5pm.
Otherwise, both of the pubs in Wadhurst serve tea in pots. The Greyhound, the first you come to, is the more traditional pub and sometimes refuses to do tea if its bar is busy. It has a well-hidden garden out the back. 100 metres up the road, the White Hart has been taken upmarket. But it seems happy to serve tea and has comfortable sofas.
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Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk